Nick Jonas Says His ‘Tragic’ Kelsea Ballerini Guitar Solo at 2016 ACM Awards Sent Him to Therapy
Nick Jonas is reflecting on one of the “worst moments” of his career. The JoBro appeared alongside his brothers on Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert podcast and reflected on his “tragic” guitar solo with Kelsea Ballerini during the 2016 ACM Awards that he said caused him to go to therapy.
“Then there was another time during a really tragic guitar solo debacle that happened on live TV,” Nick said on the podcast. “In retrospect, I can kind of laugh about how big I thought it was. But it did travel more than I wish it would have, and it did cause me to go to therapy.”
Jonas had appeared on stage first to perform a guitar solo intro before a duet with Ballerini for her single “Peter Pan,” and ended up playing the wrong notes. (There’s a poor quality recording of the moment on YouTube.)
On the podcast, Jonas recalled rehearsing with her “a million times.”
“I’m feeling really confident about it, not even really thinking about it like it’s a thing that’s going to be problematic,” he said. “I started off, it was fine and as I walked towards her, I just went completely blank and I hit a wrong note and blacked out basically and clocked that it was wrong and I couldn’t stop.”
Jonas added that to this day he still “can’t really figure out exactly what happened.”
“I was rushed to a car and rushed to a plane right after it,” Jonas said. “I looked at my manager and said, ‘I think that was bad.’ I was in shock. It was a really traumatic moment that shaped the pressure I put on myself to be perfect and to always be on.”
At the time, a Rolling Stone “Best and Worst Moments” review of the awards show that year described the moment as a “painfully stiff guitar solo that soured more than it soared — even missing a few notes.”
Ballerini and Jonas have remained friends ever since. She even joined to Jonas Brothers on their Remember This Tour in 2021.